Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Shirley Temple, the diplomat

The child actor, Shirley Temple, who died today at 85, has a lesser known diplomatic and politic activity behind the glamorous lights of Hollywood.
After starting to act at the age of 4, she stopped making movies in 1949. At 21, she remarried his second husband, Charles Black, a Californian businessman she met on Hawaii, who introduced her in the world of politics and with whom she shared 55 of her life.
In 1950s, together with her husband, she campaigned on behalf of Dwight D. Eisenhower-Richard M. Nixon. She ran for the Congress in 1967, but was not elected.

UN appointments

In 1969, she was appointed by Richard Nixon delegate to the UN. Already involved in several international cooperation on behalf of the Foundation of Multiple Sclerosis Societies, she acquired not only a better network of relations, but also a certain knowledge of the international vocabulary of world affairs. She held various representation positions for the US, as deputy chair of the US Delegation to the UN conference on Human Environment in Stockholm (1970-1972), part of the US Delegation part of the Joint Commission of the USSR-USA Cooperative Treaty on the Environment, in 1972 and between 1972-1974 special assistant to the chairman of the US Council on Environmental Quality. From 1974-1976 she was the US ambassador to Ghana, getting involved in the development of economic relations with the US as well as regional cooperation in the region.
In 1976, Gerald Ford, for whom she campaigned, named her White House chief of protocol, the first such position ever held by a woman. 

Diplomat in Czechoslovakia

Between 1981-1988, during the mandate of Ronald Reagan, her co-star in That Hagen Girl (1947), she held various seminars and workshops for the first time diplomats and their wives. At the end of the public career, she was named by George W. Bush the US ambassador to Czechoslovakia, a country that she visited in 1968, during the Prague Spring, as a volunteer for her Foundation. She witnessed the tremendous changed this country went through, during the democratic transition and the split of the country. 
In an interview in 1999, she declared that even though 'initially', her mission was 'human rights, trying to keep people like future president Vaclav Havel out of jail', 'almost overnight, my concern become economics'.
In the Clinton era she ended her diplomatic active career, remaining a member of the symbolic American Academy of Diplomacy. 

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